WASHINGTON ― North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr (R) is taking a page from the Donald Trump campaign playbook that even Trump has already discarded ― cutting off a media outlet.
The Burr campaign has stopped providing The News & Observer information about its events, the paper reported Monday:
Burr spokesman Jesse Hunt said concerns with The N&O’s coverage of the race have prompted the campaign to ban the paper from receiving event information.
“Paul (Shumaker, Burr’s lead political strategist) put an embargo on sending you scheduling details until you demonstrate the ability to cover this race from a balanced point of view,” Hunt said in an email.
The Burr campaign did not provide details, but spokesman Jesse Hunt emailed that the paper is not banned from attending events, even if it won’t be told about them. The long-serving chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is locked in a surprisingly tough contest with Deborah Ross, a former ACLU lawyer and state representative.
A spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee mocked the embargo of the paper in a tweet, suggesting the paper was somehow failing by not covering more of Ross’ ACLU work in the 1990s defending the civil liberties of unpopular contingents of society, or by not asking her more about Hillary Clinton.
The blacklisting of the paper appears to coincide with a story the outlet did pointing out that Burr missed meetings of the Armed Services Committee but managed to attend campaign fundraisers, including skipping a session on the Joint Strike Fighter that is built in North Carolina. The Huffington Post also reviewed Burr’s committee attendance, and found that he missed 70 percent of the meetings, including days when he made it to at least 10 fundraisers. One of those events, dubbed the “Burr-B-Q-Showdown,” came on a day when Burr was absent for a hearing aimed at reducing suicides in the military.
While Burr spokesman Jesse Hunt did not elaborate to HuffPost, he did offer a comment to The N&O that singled out the author of the fundraising story.
“Please make sure you include that Sen. Burr has made over 35 public stops in October and done more than 20 local media interviews,” Hunt said. “And that (the ban) applies to you because Colin Campbell and The News & Observer have failed to cover the Senate race objectively and on its own merits.”
Shortly after Campbell and the NRSC tweeted about the ban, another North Carolina outlet noted that Burr couldn’t be bothered with it, either.
According to HuffPost Pollster’s aggregated polls of the context, Burr is leading Ross by just under 2 points.